|ARTISTS - PROGRAM - ABOUT - HOME
Cemeti Art Foundation, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2006
Formed by Danius Kesminas, PUNKASILA features seven graduates and current students from the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Yogyakarta and Kesminas - seven Indonesians and a bule. PUNKASILA play custom-made, hand crafted mahogany guitars, built to simulate M-16’s, AK-47’s and other weapons. They wear camouflage-patterned hand-painted batik, tailored as military fatigues and play originals songs which highlight the multitude of acronyms and abbreviations that describe the full spectrum of Indonesian political, cultural and religious life.
In March 2007 Punksila present a concert (Permission to Fire) and CD launch plus an exhibition (Conspicuous Objects) at Keda Kebun Forum in Yogyakarta. This will be followed by an exhibition at the Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (April/May 2007).
Punkasila live at GOMA, Queensland Art Gallery, 25 May 2007
The name, PUNKASILA, which literally means punk principles, derives from pancasila, the five tenets devised for the unitary basis of Indonesian nationhood. While reading The Politics of Indonesia by Dr Damien Kingsbury, Kesminas found himself continually referring to the index of abbreviations and acronyms and it is this index that he chose as the basis for PUNKASILA’s "lyrics". These acronyms became a set of abbreviated "songs" performed in a frenetic progressive-punk-rock idiom. The song titles are in fact the complete lyrics (with completed nomenclature echoed in Bahasa Indonesian).
Together with the band, Kesminas wrote 17 songs based on selected Indonesian acronyms and abbreviations. The genius of the pancasila as propaganda, condensed through its motto, "Unity in Diversity", is to unify the wide ranging cultures of the Indonesian archipelago and to suggest that it is the five principles that they have shared in common since time immemorial. The concept that drives the Punkasila project is to distil the cacophony of disparate political, military, religious, cultural and bureaucratic organisations that constitute the Indonesian body politic to their abbreviated form of acronyms. It is hoped to make the songs both humorous and provocative in equal measure, in part by flattening out each organisations’ implied agendas, arbitrarily presenting them alongside rival, non-affiliated or completely disconnected groups. In addition, many of these acronyms have been popularly inverted using plesetan as a kind of subversive double-speak. This specifically Indonesian wordplay adds another layer of pathos and the ridiculous to PUNKASILA’s repertoire.
All the songs are original. The average length of each is about 1min 30sec with Kesminas singing the acronym repetitively and his co-vocalist Hahan howling its complete form in Bahasa Indonesian. Sometimes these roles are reversed. The song writing process is all the more interesting given the band members very limited English and Kesminas' non-existent Indonesian.
PUNKASILA’S repertoire includes;
"Hahan" Uji Handoko Eko Saputro: radio transmission vocals
PUNKASILA’S first CD, Acronym Wars will be formally released in conjunction with the 2007 Yogyakarta & Sydney exhibitions/performances.
ACRONYM WARS, 2006
To date PUNKASILA have played live shows in Semarang, Bandung and Yogyakarta and have been censored only once.